Ah, the side dish. While for years cooked bell peppers were an unwelcome invaders on my plate. They were unfriendly – but more importantly – MUSHY. This was wholly unacceptable. Fear not friends, I have discovered the roasted red bell pepper. Not just any roasted red bell pepper, mind you. A french one – provencal to be exact. Fancy, I know. Try not be overwhelmed. Roasted Red Bell Peppers with Garlic and Thyme, adapted from Williams Sonoma’s Essentials of French Cooking
5 red bell peppers
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (break out the good stuff if you’ve got it), plus some regular olive for brushing
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 tsp salt (feel free to add more to taste)
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper (again, add more to taste)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. (This recipe employs what I would call the flash fire method.)
Step 2: Place the peppers on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Roast the peppers in the oven, turning a few times, until they blacken and blister (see aforementioned flash fire method). This should take about 20-25 minutes.
Step 3: Take peppers out of oven, tent with foil, and allow to cool about 10 minutes until they are cool enough to handle. If you are so inclined, at this point you may peel the peppers (the blackened bits come off rather easily) but that is completely optional. Then cut the peppers open to remove the seeds and slice them into strips.
Step 4: Place the peppers in a ceramic or stainless steel bowl (like tomatoes, bell peppers should be put in a nonreactive bowls) and toss with thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Peppers can be served warm or at room temperature.